If you have attended a Council meeting or followed some of our emails over the past year, you may have heard of the BBKSU Restructure, if you're interested in what's involved, read on...
The BBKSU Review (also referred to as the "Turn Around Process", the "SU Restrucure", or the "Change Process" and lots of other things that imply reform) is our project to redesign our Students' Union to match the needs of our current members. With support from the University and the NUS, we are working to identify where we need to invest our resources to ensure that we are able to grow to meet students' expectations.
Our members and their interests have always been at the heart of everything we do, however Birkbeck has seen some bold changes over the past five years; some aspects of our current model are now obsolete, and it has become clear that we are not currently resourced or equipped to represent and support our members as we would like. The introduction of full time courses, and the increase in student fees, has prompted a culture shift where more of our students expect a full time University experience, with a Union to match. The result is that we have focused our efforts this year on the work required to create and implement a wide reaching strategic plan that allows us to better serve our members and ensures a stronger, louder BBKSU for years to come.
NOW! The 2015/16 officer team recognised that a holistic approach to adapting our service was necessary if we were going to make effective changes, so they invited the NUS Diagnostic Unit to come and review our current setup and provide their recommendations for where we should focus our attention. From the start of the 2016/17 year we have been running a 'reduced service' where we are still committed to supporting our members, however many of our staff & officer hours are currently dedicated to reviewing/updating/re-writing/investigating/researching/planning so that the restructure is shaped by students and how they want to be engaged and deserve to be represented.
We intend to have many of the new models and strategies ready for the next academic year, however building the Union is a long term project that will require our ongoing efforts.
The project is overseen by the SU Turn-Around-Board (TAB) which is small working group of the SU Trustee Board. The Trustees on the TAB are joined by Birkbeck College staff members: Fraser Keir (Academic Registrar), Katherine Bock (Head of Governance), and Keith Willett (Director of Finance). The board has an independent chair: Ben Ward (CEO Manchester SU) and has support from the NUS Diagnostic Support Unit.
To support the success of the project, consultant Mark Grayling has been engaged as the BBKSU Change Director to lead the work of the review which is supported by our staff and officers. Students have been invited over the past 12 months, through various surveys, focus groups and SU meetings to provide their opinions which will be used to shape our plans; it's not too late to get involved submit an idea or contact us!
We have engaged Redbrick Research to help us understand the interests and opinions of our members to ensure that our plans will reflect what students want from their Union. Using this research, we are simultaneously reviewing our Governance and democratic procedures, assessing our staffing structures and resource needs, and preparing to move our efforts towards a cohesive, full time SU that supports students, our interests and our self-organising efforts.
The structural changes will provide the foundation for us to build a realistic strategic plan for our continued growth.
As we formalise our plans students will begin to see changes and updates, for more information, contact us!